Be "Another"

It's been a year of loss. Lots of people whose work influenced our world for the better are gone. Musicians, actors, writers. Artists of all kinds.

The loss of Carrie Fisher--actor, writer, advocate--hits me especially hard. Especially her, especially this year.

So, Yoda says, "There is another." Whatever or whoever he (or George Lucas) may mean by that--all that speculation feels, increasingly, beside the point.

All of us can, must, should be "Another."

Yes: speak/write, especially speaking up when power is abused. But also, find others who are speaking. Stand beside them, listening to and amplifying their work, letting them know they're not fighting alone.

NOTE: I'm not listening backward (or, you know, backwards). I'm no longer interested hearing people speak hate or even ambivalence about people who don't look like they do. I refuse to seek out voices who glorify "business sense" at the expense of compassion and equity, or who think "paying taxes" and "being taken" are the same thing. I grew up where those values dominate every conversation. I've seen how they hurt. I'm done.

Instead, I've been trying to listen outward--finding people who are leading interesting discussions at places like Code Switch, voices like that of Chelsea Vowell, news at APTN.

Listening to people whose experience of gender is different from mine. To people whose history on this continent (and on the planet) is different from mine. To people whose experience of illness and health is different from mine.

Listening also to people who know things I don't. Things about policy and science and ways we can ensure that my grand-nephews and anticipated grand-niece--and YOUR descendants--still have the chance to live on this planet.

As I release the year that's nearly gone, it's hard not to focus on the losses--loss of leadership, loss of opportunities for leadership, loss of skilled people, loss of hopes.

But I'll also celebrate 2016 as the year that showed me how important it is to listen. To be "another."